The ITT trip we took on Sunday dropped us off at the base on Mt. Takao around 8:30am. We had about 3.5 hours to walk around and explore the mountain before we needed to find our spots for the fire-walking ceremony. We posed for a couple pictures with the map of the trails on the mountain.
We were given tickets to ride the chair lift up and down the mountain. The ride on the chair lift took about 12 minutes. Once we arrived at the top of the chair lift, we had about a 45 minute walk to the summit. In true Japanese fashion, there were directions for how to enter and exit the chair lift.
The ride up the mountain on the chair lift was breathtaking. Literally and not because of the views. I didn’t realize how steep the chair lift would be and how far off the ground we would be at times. Please keep in mind also, there were no seat belts.
The chair lift took us up the steep mountain!
Don’t look down!
I did have to breathe a little deeper and remind myself not to look down!! Once we were on solid ground, I was much happier!
The walk to the summit included a couple of highlights. The first was the monkey park. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open and we didn’t have time to stop. Maybe next time! Fortunately, we brought our own monkey! The picture of Dina’s youngest daughter photo bombing is one of my favorites. Talk about monkey business.
Next we passed the octopus tree. The “octopus cedar” is a 450-year-old tree given its name because of its unique root structure.
Continuing along the trail, we walked passed many lanterns and large wooden slats leading to the Yakuo-in Temple. We couldn’t figure out what the meaning of the wooden slats. We were really confused when we saw “Gloria.” Our best guess was, these were names of people who made donations to the temple.
The temple is dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. The temple was very large with a lot of stairs between the two levels.
Dave and I walked around the corner right at the time the head priest was leaving the temple. Here they are starting their ceremonial walk to the fire-walking! Look how close we were!!
We continued our walk up more stairs…
Until finally reaching the summit. Although it was a very hazy day, we had a small glimpse of the top of Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is the small white spot in the middle of the picture.
Going down the mountain was a lot faster with only a couple stops for silly pictures.
Even the chair lift seemed to go faster on the way down. Surprisingly, the chair lift wasn’t nearly as scary going down. Perhaps, because we knew what to expect.
The view was lovely. Dave and I discussed making a trip back to Mt. Takao in the fall when the leaves are turning. Now that we know we can easily arrive in two hours by train, we have a new place to see beautiful leaves and Mt. Fuji!